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Vantage supports Amethis and WAEMGF exit from Petro Ivoire

Anna Lyudvig
Dec. 4, 2018, 9:02 p.m.

Word count: 574

Vantage Capital, Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager, has provided €19m of mezzanine funding to Pétro Ivoire, a leading distributor of oil & gas products in Côte d’Ivoire. 

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Vantage Capital, Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager, has provided €19m of mezzanine funding to Pétro Ivoire, a leading distributor of oil & gas products in Côte d’Ivoire. 

Vantage’s funding has enabled the founding family to regain a controlling equity stake in the company by facilitating the buy-back of equity from two exiting private equity investors, Amethis and the West Africa Emerging Markets Growth Fund (WAEMGF).  

Luc Albinski, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital, said: “Vantage’s mezzanine product provided the ideal solution to Petro Ivoire’s shareholders: enabling the private equity investors to achieve a successful exit and the founding family to acquire a controlling stake in their business without having to write out a big equity cheque.”

The exit of Amethis and WAEMGF from Petro Ivoire has been structured through a Leveraged Management Buy Out, one of the first of that kind to be structured in francophone West Africa. 

Jean-Thomas Lopez, Amethis Portfolio Manager, said: “ Amethis is proud to have supported the founding family for the past five years during which we have created added-value by doubling Petro Ivoire’s network, enabling a better gas supply to Ivorian families (which contributes to the fight against deforestation by reducing the use of charcoal), and  improving Petro Ivoire’s financial structure.”

Founded in 1994 by Mathieu Kadio-Morokro, the company is now run by his son, Sébastien Kadio-Morokro, who was recently selected as one of the top ten Young Global Leaders in sub-Saharan Africa by the World Economic Forum. 

The company operates a network of 72 petrol stations across the country (3rd placed after Total and Vivo Energy) and is also the largest gas distributor, with over 1.7 million gas bottles in circulation. 

It also holds a 40% stake in Côte d’Ivoire’s largest gas storage and bottle filling facility, SAEPP. 

The company sold 230 million litres of petroleum products in 2017.

The exit of the private equity investors has made room for a French-based gas trading company, Geogas Entreprise SAS, to take a stake in the business alongside the founding family.

Sébastien Kadio-Morokro, Managing Director of Pétro Ivoire, said: “The ambitious strategic plan deployed over the past few years with Amethis and WAEMGF has enabled Petro Ivoire to engage into the following step of its development. The outcome of this partnership has been very positive, and we are committed to meet the upcoming challenges to achieve our ambition to become one of the largest African company of oil and gas distribution.”
This transaction represents Vantage Capital’s 27th mezzanine transaction across three generations of mezzanine funds, with its portfolio of mezzanine investments now spread across nine countries in Africa. 

Outside of South Africa, Vantage has now invested in ten transactions for a total of $138 million across Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia and Botswana. 

Pétro Ivoire is Vantage’s first investment in Francophone Africa and the mezzanine fund manager is currently pursuing several opportunities in Morocco, hoping to announce its first deal in that country in 2019.

Warren van der Merwe, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital, declared: “We are delighted to conclude our first transaction in Francophone Africa. We believe Pétro Ivoire to be a gem. After being backed by several private equity funds over the past decade, the founding family has now been able regain control of their business. The new strategic alliance with Geogas Trading, a major gas trading company, bodes well for the future of Petro Ivoire.”

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